The world of work is changing rapidly, posing new challenges for both employees and organizations. Would you like to contribute to productive solutions and their implementation?
The field of Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology (WOP) studies the factors that influence how people feel and behave at work, as well as the consequences of this behavior.
Our master programme focuses on such diverse topics as motivation, leadership, (un)ethical behavior, goal pursuit, aging at work and career development, training and coaching, personality, and creativity. This large diversity of topics is also reflected in our research methods, our staff, and our teaching programme. Our courses help you gain advanced knowledge of cutting-edge research and gives you the opportunity to develop a broad set of professional skills. Moreover, you have the opportunity to get a coaching certificate, which will be helpful if you aim for a career in coaching, counselling, or personnel development. It is precisely this combination of theory and practice that makes Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology an exciting field to study and to work in.
HR consultant with an international Accountancy company
During my Bachelor's degree programme in Psychology I realized that I actually didn't want a job as a 'classic' psychologist, for example, in clinical psychology. I wanted to go into business. That's why I chose the Master's degree programme ' Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology' , to learn more about psychology in workplaces. During my Master's I did an internship at the consulting firm Cubiks, where I did research on different generations in the workplace.
After my internship the firm offered me a job as an HR
consultant. It's not a very big company, but it has offices in 14
different countries. Firms can, for example, buy our aptitude tests
or personality questionnaires, or they can hire us to improve their
After I worked at the Dutch office for a while, I actually wanted to travel. I got the opportunity to work for some time at the office in Kuala Lumpur, and I traveled after that. When I came back from my trip, the firm called me to say there was a vacancy at the head office in England. That's where I work and live at the moment. My position is slightly different from the one I first had. It's focused more on marketing and product management: I investigate which new products and services we need to develop and how we can offer those in different countries. I have a lot of contact with the offices in other countries and I travel there regularly. It's a very diverse job and I really enjoy it.
Although my job is not directly related to psychology, my studies are still very useful: not only because I work closely with our research department (which develops all kinds of psychological tests) and the HR consultants / psychologists in other countries, but also because the study taught me a lot about human motivation and behaviour, which is an essential part of marketing!
I can recommend everyone to do an internship during their studies. It's very good for your confidence and you learn what's really going on in the workplace. You gain experience which is very useful when you are going to apply for a real job.
I wanted to go into business, but during my Master's thesis I found out that I actually really like doing research.
I always said, I'm never going to do a PhD because I already studied long enough. I did two bachelor's programmes, Psychology and Law, and the master's programme 'Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology' . Initially, I wanted to go into business, but during my Master's thesis I found out that I actually really like doing research. So now I'm doing a PhD at the University Medical Center Groningen, which I started almost one year ago.
I study people's motivations to participate voluntarily in large-scale research. As a researcher you always depend on others to participate in your research. It's important to know why people do or do not want to participate in a certain research project, and why they decide to share their personal details. In the end, I have to write an advisory paper for businesses about how they should deal with participants and their recruitment for large-scale researches and projects.
Although my PhD is not really about work psychology, I still use
what I learned during my Master's. My research is related to social
psychology, and I learned about that during my studies, as well .
The skills and research methods I acquired are also still very
useful, of course. Only the topic of the studies changed a
For my Master's thesis I did an internship at a forensic psychiatric center to study the effectiveness of their policy regarding sick leave. I liked the fact that my thesis was really going to be used for something, and wouldn't end up being read by my supervisor only. In my current research, there is also a combination of theory and practice, which I enjoy. For example, I work together with IBM to answer questions from the field.
I'm very happy I made this choice, I wouldn't want anything else anymore. You get the chance to work on one project for four years, and you won't get that anywhere else. You're completely responsible for the work you do and this means a lot of freedom. I don't just sit in my office all the time, I often have to consult with someone or interview people, and I visit conferences to tell people about my research.
I am enjoying the variety of courses
My name is Marvin Neumann, I am 24 years old and come from Germany. A bundle of things convinced me that starting the Bachelor programme in Psychology and then doing the Master programme in Work, Organizational, and Personnel Psychology would be the right choice. For example, I liked the availability of a study programme in English, Groningen's reputation as a vibrant student city, and having lots of sports opportunities.
When I just came to Groningen I had no international experience and had to adjust to a new culture, a new way of learning, and a new city. However, I got accustomed to all this quite quickly, as Groningen and the RUG offer multiple opportunities to feel at home. At the start of my Master programme, I was simply very excited, because I wondered whether it would be different from the Bachelor programme. It was nice that the focus was solely on the topic I love, WOP psychology.
I also liked the course structure of the Master a lot. While I did not care too much about the order in which the courses were offered, I enjoyed the variety of courses because I think this completes the skills repertoire of an Organizational psychologist quite neatly. Academically and individually, the achievement I am most proud of so far is the nomination of my Master-thesis for a thesis prize. Thanks to my supervisor, my own motivation, and some very unexpected but interesting scientific results, I was able to write a thesis that was considered for a nomination.
Furthermore, I offered statistical tutoring throughout my studies. It was really rewarding to see students developing their skills further, passing difficult exams, and ultimately gaining expertise, which allows some of them to offer to tutor themselves now.
Contact Marvin Neumann via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The programme equips me with the skills I need to work in a business environment while still being involved in helping people.
My name is Hannah Cox and I am from the UK. I gained a BSc degree in Psychology in Brighton before coming to Groningen. A friend of mine was studying here, so I had already visited Groningen a number of times before I decided to move here and follow this Master's programme.
During my visits I participated in some of the events organized by University of Groningen students and Faculty. These swayed me to continue my studies in Groningen – I appreciate that there are lots of extracurricular activities and communities outside the University. For example, I’m already involved with the UNICEF student team and the UG Student Culture Centre, Usva.
I’ve never wanted to work as a clinical psychologist, so I looked for a way to put my degree to use in a non-traditional setting. The Work, Organization and Personnel Psychology (WOP) programme seemed like it would enable me to apply my psychological training in a practical way. The programme equips me with the skills I need to work in a business environment while still being involved in helping people.
Before I came here, I wasn’t really familiar with the subject of work, organization and personnel psychology. In my Bachelor’s degree programme, I took general courses in group psychology and organizational psychology, but they were focused on group or crowd behaviour, and not so much on an actual work setting. The WOP programme focuses more on what people want or need to achieve in the workplace. For example, how the work environment can influence productivity and well being, the best ways to stimulate creativity and innovation, or teaching someone to be a good leader or listener.
One of the practical courses offered is the coaching course, which builds on ideas of conversational therapy and offers opportunities to practise these. At the moment, I’m learning coaching techniques and conversational skills, and in the next period I will have the opportunity to coach a student who has recently begun teaching. The aim is to help students feel more comfortable and confident in their new role, and overcome any difficulties they may face. This is very exciting, because it’s the first opportunity I’ve had throughout my studies to practically apply my knowledge outside the research field.
In addition to following the WOP programme, I am taking an elective course unit at the Faculty of Arts that relates to public arts policy and how governments view and maintain cultural institutions. I am considering combining these different fields in the future by applying my skills as a psychologist at a cultural institution. After graduating, I’m first going to apply for graduate schemes at charitable organizations in the UK, in particular charities focused on making science – and studying science – accessible to all people, regardless of their educational background, gender or culture.
The WOP programme helps me to achieve my personal goals by teaching me about how people function in organizations, and the sorts of issues that are present in these contexts. It also provides me with the knowledge to overcome these issues myself in my own career; it is therefore very valuable for both my personal and professional growth.
Hannah Cox - Work, Organization and Personnel Psychology
Eric Rietzschel - assistant professor Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology
My name is Eric Rietzschel and I am Assistant Professor in the Master's degree programme Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology, where I teach Creativity and Innovation in Organizations. I coordinate this Master's track together with Susanne Scheibe.
The field I work in covers pretty much anything that people think, feel and do, applied to organizations and often in the workplace, but not necessarily so; it can also apply to cooperation within a club or association. Everything that plays a role in psychology — personality, skills and emotions— can be related to this. What I like about my field is that it gives you the space to study everything that you find interesting about people but at the same time provides a clear context to guide you. It goes beyond random thinking about people but instead focuses on people in a specific setting.
Another feature of the programme is diversity, both in terms of subjects and lecturers. Students have the opportunity to ‘direct’ their own Master’s programme by choosing the subjects and lecturers that they find interesting. Students can create their own profile, as it were, whether they are interested in staff selection, innovation, coaching or something else.
I am also very enthusiastic about the combination of theory and practice; this field gives you a clear view of what practice is or can be. This way we can teach students how theory has immediate implications for practice.